The annual Houston LGBT Pride Festival and Parade sponsored by Pride Houston caused an influx of people who covered the streets in the Montrose neighborhood Saturday.
According to a Facebook profile created by Pride Houston, 320,000 people attended this year’s celebration.
Bleachers, tents and roadblocks were set up the night before.
As the Saturday morning sun came out, so did people who dawned bright red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple apparel.
The pre-parade festival was held from 1 to 7 p.m.
“Houston brings together people and this event brings together people,” said senior business major Dug Hoang who was in attendance.
“It’s about supporting the culture and the metropolitan aspect of Houston and how it’s different from the rest of Texas. It is its own culture and its own life. Pride is a big part of it. It’s a huge event and it’s been getting bigger every year. We don’t care whether you’re gay or straight or bisexual, we appreciate you regardless.”
Music blasted from every street corner as crowds of gay and straight alike gathered throughout the day.
Disc jockeys pumped the latest beats as people competed in friendly dance-offs.
Senior Colleen Osborn and a group of friends were stationed on the corner of Westheimer Road and Yupon Street. This was Osborn’s second year at Pride.
“I have some very close friends of mine who are gay,” Osborn said. “I’d love nothing more than to let them know that I care about them.”
When the parade finally began well past the scheduled time of 8:15 p.m., the air was hot and sticky and the crowd dense, but the cheers were electric.
As beads were thrown from the parade’s float, the crowd became a sea of hands reaching for freebies. Condoms and wet T-shirts were also thrown into the crowd.
Several local radio stations marched in the nighttime parade, including 104.1 KRBE and Mix 96.5. Wells Fargo had a color guard line with rifles that were spun, tossed and caught.
Elaborate streams of rainbow-colored lights illuminated the streets and toned men dressed in golden body armor in the parade won cheers and whistles from the crowd.
Despite all the festivities and questionable costume choices by some of the attendees, the true message of Pride remained clear.
“It means a lot. It means just pride to show that gay people do exist and we have meaning,” Christina Berck, who has attended the parade for the past five years, said.